Just north of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds is the Redmond Caves, a series of five caves administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The five caves here are actually a single collapsed lava tube that was formed by flows of molten lava from Newberry Caldera, according to the BLM. The cool, dusty environs of the caves make a great spot to whether you plan to check out the far reaches of the caves or just have some time to kill before a flight or a long wait for a table at nearby Original Pancake House.

In any event, the BLM recommends you carry no fewer than three sources of light when you visit this place, which was used for 6,000 years by Native Americans as a stopping point between the Cascades and Ochocos and the Crooked and Deschutes rivers. The caves are numbered, with Cave 4 located closest to Airport Way, and among the most accessible along with caves 1 and 3. Cave 1, with its wide and clear floors, is located a bit farther down the and well worth the walk.

The caves are free to visit year-round, and please note that pets are not permitted. Some of the lava rock in the caves seems almost sculpted, which I suppose it was, though not by humans. You’ll want to watch your step because of the terrain and there are rattlesnakes in the area.

Getting there: From Highway 97, head east on Southwest Airport Way approximately one mile. The small dirt parking area is located on the north side of the road just east of 13th Street. Contact: 541-416-6700.

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Reporter: 541-383-0349,

djasper@bendbulletin.com

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